1. I find it highly ironic that the Christians who are so agitated about A&E’s suspension of Phil Robertson are, in all likelihood, the same Christians who have been appalled at the recent court cases involving Christians who are fighting for their rights not to do certain types of business with gay or lesbian couples. The photographer in New Mexico, the florist in Washington, the baker in Colorado—all have argued that they should not be compelled to provide services for a same-sex wedding. They believe they should have the freedom not to work with people whose beliefs and lifestyle are in conflict with theirs.
Um. Does A&E not have the right to the same freedom? This is not a First Amendment issue. Phil Robertson is not going to jail or being killed for saying what he believes. This is a private company saying, “Hey, we don’t want our name and brand associated with your beliefs.” Which is pretty much the same exact thing the photographer and the florist and the baker are saying. We can’t have it both ways, folks.
2. Regardless of where you stand on the issue of homosexuality, please do not claim that Phil Robertson “simply said what Scripture says” or “was only stating biblical values.” As a Christian, I found his remarks offensive. He displayed a lack of compassion for gay, lesbian and bisexual people, a disturbingly demeaning view of women and marriage, and a staggering ignorance about race. That last one was what startled me most when I read Robertson's quotes, and Kristen at Rage Against the Minivan summed it up well:
I don’t even know where to start with this one. Comparing black people to white trash is cringey, but suggesting that black people were happier during segregation? That because Phil never heard a black person publicly complain BACK IN THE ERA OF LYNCHING means that they must have been satisfied with the state of things? This is so racially tone-deaf that it reminds me of the time Paula Deen romanticized the slaves as being “like family”. Not to mention, the subtext of his remarks is that black people nowadays are entitled, unGodly, discontented welfare recipients. So when I see people as “standing with Phil” based on their Christian values, I really have to ask . . . how does an apologist for our country’s ugly Jim Crow legacy represent Christian values?
3. Really, church? This is what we’re going to get ourselves all worked up about? How about we save our energy and outrage for things that are truly, unarguably outrageous. Like, I don't know, human trafficking. Also, can we just stop crying “persecution” all the time? THIS is persecution. A millionaire being suspended from a cable TV show for making crass and ignorant statements not even about the gospel (please, for the love of all that is good and holy, PLEASE do not confuse “the gospel” with “morality”), is not persecution.
I know a lot of ink has been spilled over this already, but I couldn't scroll through the slew of "I support Phil Robertson, the righteous martyr" posts on my Facebook feed any longer without throwing in my two cents. Thanks for indulging me.
Further worthwhile reading:
The Duck Thing: Is There Another Way?
Duck Dynasty, First Amendment Rights, and Christian Values
This is Not Worth Quacking About
Dear Kids: Never Forget the Power of Words